custom cakes/cookies

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Multi-Grain Chinese Dumplings with Local Oyster Mushrooms

This month's Daring Cooks challenge is hosted by Jen of Use Real Butter. She selected chinese dumplings (or potstickers) and graciously shared a well-tested family recipe. Lots of wiggle room was given with this challenge in choosing the dough (NO pre-made wrappers!), the filling, and the cooking method (boil, steam or pan-fry). Jen's original recipe and very detailed instructions can be found here.

I knew I wanted to make a vegetarian filling. On an especially serendipitous trip to my farmer's market, I found these gorgeously-hued oyster mushrooms. Can you believe these are grown locally? In absolute pristine condition when I purchased them...unfortunately, they got crumpled a bit on my walk home from the market.

Another good find at the market, a stone-ground multigrain flour, informed my dough recipe. This wonderful flour from Jennings Bros. is a mixture buckwheat, spelt, and hard red spring wheat. (They don't just sell flour either. I'm looking forward to eventually trying each of their 5 different cornmeals including a Hopi Blue!)

The key to making a good dumpling is having a cohesive filling (achieved by finely mincing) and rolling a thin yet sturdy wrapper. This involves a bit of a time commitment, but the results are well worth it! Give it a try! Here is my adaptation:

mushroom filling:
4 cups napa cabbage leaves, minced, toss with salt, allow to drain in colander for 1 hr, then ring out excess moisture with a dish towel

1 cup oyster mushrooms, minced

1/4 cup dried black Chinese mushrooms, reconstituted and minced
1/4 cup shitake mushrooms, minced

1/4 cup minced leek

1/4 cup bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced

2 Tbs red onion, minced

1 Tbs garlic
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups multi-grain flour
1/2 cup warm water
flour for work surface

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste
minced ginger
minced garlic
agave syrup

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the dough: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water.]

Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze for later use: Assemble uncooked dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.


Charlie said...

That looks so delicious!

Colin said...

What time is dinner?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

These dumplings look lovely. I adore Michigan Mushrooms - have you tried all of their varieties? They're truly amazing.

I'm really excited to read this entry because Chinese dumplings have been a mystery to me and you've given beautifully clear instructions.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh! BTW... bloody butcher cornmeal from Jennings Bros. is amazing! We use it for all sorts of things. And I was glad to learn of this multigrain flour, because I haven't tried it yet.